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AFRICONNEXIONS AND SOUTH AFRICA (article first published : 2004-09-12)

In July 2002, Georgina Thomson and Boyzie Cekwana were invited to Lisbon, Portugal to attend the first meeting that intended to start a connection between contemporary dance practitioners in Africa and Europe and, even more importantly, to connect practitioners in Africa.

At this conference, it was decided to continue scheduling meetings and get-togethers in order to build a relationship between the parties. A second one was held in Brussels in March 2003, and further meetings were held in Birmingham and Madagascar in October/November 2003.

In Madagascar, a decision was made to organise a formal meeting in South Africa at which dance practitioners and administrators could meet to discuss relevant issues further. The fact that South Africa would be celebrating 10 Years of Democracy was also a factor in the decision.

European partners who have already built projects with South Africans presented a paper on how their relationships with this country have developed. The programmers include Claire Verlet from Theatre de la Ville, Paris; Lene Thiesen and Louise Jeffreys from the Barbican in London.

South African speakers gave an interesting presentation about themes such as cultural policy, or multiculturalism in dance development in the South Africa. Both local and international visitors were taken on tours to performance spaces, theatres, schools, galleries spaces that give an overview of the artistic situation in Johannesburg and South Africa.

A one-day training session called Getting Your Act Together focused on identifying goals and vision and exploring a range of effective tools for management and organizational planning. The Africonnexions project is an important event that will create a bigger network of dance practitioners in South Africa with both Africa and Europe.

New Dance and the Africonnexions meeting was made possible with assistance from AFAA, The French Institute, Pro Helvetia, BHP Billiton, Business and Arts South Africa, International European Theatre Meeting, The European Union, Africalia, the Department of Arts and Culture, the Johannesburg Development Agency and the Gauteng Department of Sport Recreation, Arts and Culture. For further information call 082 570 3083.




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